egypt: “democracy, social justice and human dignity” – but when, and how?

Tali Janner-Klausner reports from Cairo on the unfolding Egyptian revolution, including the recent international solidarity conference

Hosni Mubarak was a hated despot, and became a symbol of the many, varied and interlinked hardships that Egyptians face. At this month’s “First Forum of Solidarity with the Arab Revolutions” there were no doubts that though the symbol has come crashing down, the root causes of these hardships remain and must be confronted.

the establishment sacrificed Mubarak, but want to hold back further change

The intense popular anger that came into its own so spectacularly in Tahrir Square festered through decades of oppression under a corrupt and restrictive dictatorship. Economic and social issues cannot be separated from the political concerns that the ‘great and the good’, from Obama to the world’s media, choose to focus on. Egypt is a country of staggering exploitation and inequality. Half the population is struggling under the poverty line of $2 a day while Mubarak may have stolen up to $70 billion for himself and his family. Unemployment and food prices rose while lucrative industrial monopolies or powerful ministerial portfolios were given to loyal and often incompetent cronies who wrecked what they didn’t steal.   Continue reading “egypt: “democracy, social justice and human dignity” – but when, and how?”

a friend in need is a friend indeed…

David Broder’s thoughts on the cosy ruling-class ties being pulled apart by the Middle East uprising

Like many of the great revolutions in history, the current wave of democratic uprisings surprised all the intelligence experts and media pundits. Not only has the hated NUS chief Aaron Porter been displaced in a palace coup, but so too have dictators such as Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak.

This element of surprise in the Arab revolt has left many of the great and good caught with their pants down. If dictators are falling, it’s not the right ones, and the changed situation has left some cosy friendships rather exposed. Continue reading “a friend in need is a friend indeed…”

egypt beyond mubarak

Taimour Lay reflects on the origins and future of the Egyptian movement that toppled Mubarak

‘Politics and workers’ rights are inseparable. Work is politics by itself.’ – A striking worker at Mahalla, 2008

‘Call for a general assembly of all sectors and political trends of the people to develop a new constitution and elect real popular committees without waiting for the consent or negotiation with the regime.’ – Demand of Egyptian Iron and Steel Workers, February 2011

‘Immensely courageous and a force for good’ – Tony Blair defends Hosni Mubarak

Three thousand women garment workers left their stations and marched through the vast mill complex of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, only to find their male colleagues had failed to heed the call to walk out. ‘Where are the men? Here are the women!’ went the chant before 10,000 workers gathered in the main square of the Nile Delta town of Mahalla al-Kubra, the centre of Egypt’s militant labour movement for the last 8 years.

The four-day occupation that began on 7 December 2006 was no isolated uprising. Struggles at textile and flour mills in Alexandria and across the Delta had led to over 220 major strikes that year alone. The news of victories over pay created a resurgent politics of protest not seen the bread riots of 1977. Under extreme economic pressure, the balance of power between workers and government was changing but no one could predict what could come next. Continue reading “egypt beyond mubarak”

on egypt, and revolution

still huging in Tahrir SQ Cairo in Free Egypt Srounded by joy,tear,dignity+ proudnes.pple of Egypt have freed themselves made their own history+ours,freedom is our any ideas for party. we don’t know what to do now.
– comrade Osama Q, Tahrir Square, Cairo, 9pm, 11 February, 2011

by Joe Thorne

Revolutions are actually quite common. It’s only February and there have been two already this year :in Tunisia and Egypt. Other recent revolutions include Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Kryrgyzstan (2005) and Ukraine (2005). Recent failed endeavours include Thailand (2009), Burma (2007), and Iran (2009). Continue reading “on egypt, and revolution”